Photos by Keeley Smith.
The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) event, held in downtown Long Beach at 309 Pine, brought in over 40 small business owners over the course of four hours, allowing the workers to receive help from State Farm Insurance, Southern California Edison (SCE), the City of Long Beach, Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA) and more.
The small building served as the headquarters downtown for businesses looking to recoup damages lost during the power outage and gain information about insurance, produced in partnership with Mayor Robert Garcia, Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal, the Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA), U.S. Small Business Association and Southern California Edison (SCE).
“I came here today to find out about the Edison claim and how to go about filing,” said Kelly Foster, co-owner of Fingerprints Music. She said they had yet to determine the size of claim they’d be filing for after closing down Wednesday evening through Friday night. “We hope that Edison will come through.”
“We were just getting a lot of calls from businesses [saying] ‘what are we supposed to to? We just lost all of our inventory, we had to send people home,’” said SBDC Director Ted Hiatt. “We decided, let’s try to do an actual event where people can come here and they actually leave with something.”
DLBA representatives acknowledged significant retail losses resulting from the blackout and a commitment to helping businesses recover.
“Although the majority of the substantial impact on DTLB is behind us doesn’t mean we simply rest on our laurels and act as though nothing happened,” said DLBA President and CEO Kraig Kojian. “Similar to what the community did to help business and residents mobilize to help each other last week, the DLBA is anxious to work with it partner organizations and provide all those affected by the power outage with information and resources to recovery.”
In addition to filing claims with SCE, the SBDC staff was on board to help small business leaders develop emergency plans, complete with arranging for generators in times of need.
A generator helped Alma Anguiano preserve some of her food during the power outage, but she said most of it was lost, along with daily revenue. She estimated the food losses, which occurred just after a new food shipment, probably totaled around $2,000 to $3,000, although she has yet to itemize each receipt to calculate total losses.
“I just hope it never happens again,” Anguiano said.
SCE officials said such an event was likely a precursor to a larger earthquake or regional emergency, urging businesses and residents to take this time to become as prepared as possible for additional emergencies.
“We’re drilled for this, we’re always preparing, always drilling for this,” said Ronald Garcia, regional manager of local public affairs for SCE.
“There’s gonna be that earthquake,” said SCE’s Robert Villegas. “We’ll be responding.”
SCE officials confirmed the company continues to investigate the root cause of the power outage.
For those unable to attend today’s resource workshop, the claims process for residents and businesses is available on the SCE website. Those affected are encouraged to download a form, found here and mail it to the company.
“There’s no minimal requirement,” said SCE’s Robert Quintero. “Everything is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.”